If you have not seen the season finale of The Bachelorette and are still planning to, please seek help. Spoilers are the least of your problems.
LOS ANGELES They could see this one coming all the way from Green Bay.
JoJo Fletcher’s painfully predictable choice on The Bachelorette finale Monday night just proves the point: The most interesting American dating show this summer is on Lifetime, where UnREAL is sophomore slumping a bit, sure, but Everlasting the dating show within the Emmy-nominated scripted series has been sensational.
A black man (B.J. Britt as pro football player Darius Beck) is the lead (or “suitor”) of Everlasting, UnREAL‘s female characters are fully realized and hey, look at that! women directed exactly half the episodes.
Maybe UnREAL is a great show that just happens to be balanced. Or maybe, just maybe, that’s how you engineer interesting stories for television and movies: Different people, different perspectives (you know … strangers have their lives taped … to find out what happens … when people stop being polite … and start getting real.)
Here’s how not to do it, though: 32 consecutive seasons of the blandest, most forgettable mannequins and womannequins that middling America has to offer, people about as appealing and memorable as a drunken revolving sushi bar meal at closing time.
Idealistic, romantic, gooey, compliant, emotionally over-available, malleable, apolitical and white: A description that fits all 32 bachelors and bachelorettes to date.
To keep that streak alive requires an intent that is downright aggressive.
Which brings me to Chad
The Bachelorette is so far up its own champagne flute that Chad the villain whose cheekbone beard extensions no one dares to talk about is the real hero of Season 12. He’s gleefully abusive and threatens to tear limbs off, sure, but at least he sees what’s going on here: These people are idiots, they are in love with the toxic fumes of fame, and will do or say anything for one more whiff.
Chad is a walking societal setback, but somewhere beneath the aggro exterior could be any one of us, folding our arms and wondering why these dopey knuckleheads are mooning about “love” after one taped, chaperoned speed-date with a reality TV star.
Of course, when someone with critical thinking skills is finally parachuted into this nightmare fantasy, he’s also a terrifying tower of veins and tendons who punches doors and says things like “You’re [BLEEP] dead.”
That’ll teach us to hope for perspective on The Bachelorette’s brand of reality. Real reality is bad! Don’t pay it any mind, it’s mean and evil, it wants to hurt you and ruins everything!
And so we’ll plunge into Season 21 or so of The Bachelor, probably with Cool Hand Luke, who has a cowboy name and looks like a cowboy and sounds like a cowboy and is a cowboy and hey! Look at Luke everybody, he’s cowboy! Howdy howdy howdy!
This season was sooooo boring after Chad left. He ruined it by being right these guys are all clowns. Maybe a savage beating wouldn’t be the worst thing for some of them? Or at least a glint of understanding, somewhere beneath the bleached teeth and sculpted scruff?
Chad entertained us not because he was a scary bully, but because he brought a different worldview to the show the first green shoots of self-awareness we’ve been allowed to see. Maybe to fix The Bachelorette, Chad had to break it.
Or maybe I need to break myself of it once and for all.
It’s like I whimpered to myself at the beginning of yet another bland Bachelorette finale: “I just don’t want it to be so hard. I can’t keep going back and forth. I can’t keep doing this to myself. I feel like I’m having like, a panic attack.”
Oh wait, sorry that’s what JoJo whimpered to the cameras at the beginning of yet an other bland Bachelorette finale. But I was feelin’ that.
Hey! Speaking of JoJo …
She picked Jordan. You know, the one with the famous brother. That must feel good.